Australia is the only member of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that does not meet the requirement of 90 days of liquid fuel supplies. Parliament has passed a bill to make Australia compliant by 2026 but this relies in part on other countries to release oil on its behalf.
The MUA and others have long warned that dwindling fuel supplies were putting Australia’s security at risk and have urged the government to act.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “The Turnbull government has allowed refineries to close and the number of Australian-crewed tankers supplying fuel to the country to decline to zero under its watch. At the same time, the number of refineries has halved to four. This means we now import more than 90 per cent of our fuel and that number is rising.
“Placing a fuel levy of one or two cents per litre to ensure fuel security and supply in the event of any global catastrophe seems like a small price to pay for peace of mind.”
ITF maritime co-ordinator Jacqueline Smith commented that the ITF backed the MUA’s call for action because of the compelling evidence that a substantial disruption in fuel supply would have serious consequences for the delivery of food, medicine and running family cars across Australia.
The MUA would like the government to increase the number of Australian refineries, with Australian-crewed ships to carry the fuel around the coast.